Social constructionist theories and sociobiological perspectives have led to increased interest in gender differences in sexual behavior. This study involved a meta-analysis of gender differences in sexual arousal in response to sexual stimuli. Forty-six studies in which participants were presented with a sexual stimulus depicting males and females and in which participants responded using a self-report measure of arousal were compiled, and 62 independent effect sizes were aggregated. An overall effect size of d = .31 showed a small to moderate-sized gender difference in sexual arousal with men reporting more arousal than women across all studies. There was significant variation in the effect sizes, though, which was only partially explained by variables coded from the studies. It was found that the gender difference was slightly larger for studies using pornographic vs. erotic stimuli, was larger for studies where participants were tested in a private setting or small group compared to a large group, and was much larger for college age participants compared to those who were older than college age. Generally, the pattern of results provided more support for predictions from social influence theories compared to sociobiological theory.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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